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Dr Siddharth (Montu) Saxena

Dr Siddharth (Montu) Saxena

PhD in Experimental Physics  ( Trinity College and Cavendish Laboratory,  Cambridge)  and PhD in Historical Anthropology

BS in Physics and BA in History ( New Orleans)


Biography:

He is Chairperson of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, Director of Cambridge Kazakhstan Centre and Honorary Secretary of the Committee for Central and Inner Asia. He trained as an anthropologist, historian and a physicist. His research interests are in the areas of religion and identity, knowledge systems, social and political development and institutional history in Central Asia and the Middle East. In Physics he works on science of strongly correlated electrons, superconductivity and magnetism. He also holds a Fellow Commonership at Jesus College, University of Cambridge.  He also holds a number of Professorships, Honorary Professorships and Visiting Professorships.
His his progress through school took him to Britain, France, Germany, Soviet Union and Switzerland. He went on to New Orleans to complete High School and proceeded to the University of New Orleans, where he studied physics and history of Islam. He then studied Historical Anthropology of Islam in Khorassan. From the United States he came to Trinity College, Cambridge, on a Commonwealth Trust-Trinity Scholarship to study for a Ph.D. in Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory. He then did Post-Doctoral training at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands and University College London and a Research Fellowship at Girton College, Cambridge.
He has been involved in field based research in Central Asia since 1996 with particular focus on Bukhara in Uzbekistan and the Ferghana Valley(which is shared by the Uzbeks, Kyrgyz and the Tajiks). Since 2002 he has also been working in Almaty and Astana in Kazakhstan, Kashgar in China as well some areas of Afghanistan.  In the past he has also spent extended periods in Iran and Egypt for field work.
Current key projects he is focusing on include a study of notions of eastern cosmopolitanism in Bukhara and development of the concept of ‘projected commonality’ along with an ethnographic study of Challa, the ‘Muslim Jews’, of Central Asia. He also directs the Cambridge project on documenting inter-linkages between environment, culture and education through mapping of local knowledge systems in Ferghana Valley. This historical and anthropological research is done in conjunction with some policy related projects like understanding of social development in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation realm, dialogue between the Muslim world and the West and Environmental Security of the Central Asian Region.
He has supervised fourteen PhD dissertations, ten Masters projects and a number of undergraduate dissertations. In the last five years he has delivered more than 70 plenary and keynote addresses and international conferences and government and public forums. He has published 60 peer reviewed and invited research articles and book chapters in both Islamic and Central Asian Studies as well as Experimental Physics. He has chaired four major international conferences and numerous panels.
Siddharth Saxena has served as consultant to several international organisations in the UN system and otherwise and is on Cambridge Middle East working group, Cambridge India Partnership Group, Cambridge International Development Forum (China), Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit Management Committee, UK India Business Forum next Generation Advisory Board, British Uzbek and Kazakh Society Boards.
He has discovered four new superconductors, including the first ferromagnetic superconductor. He was awarded the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Young Scientist Medal in 2006 and a Medal for Service to Education in Kazakhstan, th Kazakh minister of education in April 2009 and an Honorary Doctorate and Professorship in November 2009. Honorary Professor of  Astana Economic Forum 2012. Presidential Medals of Honour from booth Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in 2011. He is a Director of Future Power Ltd., CamCool Ltd., CantabrigiaAdvisors Ltd.
In 2011 he was appointed together with Lord Waverley to review and renew Foreign Affairs Select Committee Report on Central Asia and South Causes.

Research Interests

He trained as an anthropologist, historian and a physicist. His research interests are in the areas of religion and identity, knowledge systems, social and political development and institutional history in Central Asia and the Middle East. In Physics he works on science of strongly correlated electrons, superconductivity and magnetism.

Teaching

Development of Central Asia and Caucasus:

The paper each addresses aspects of the region’s economics, politics and society. Central themes include: i) imperialism and decolonization in the pre and early Soviet era; ii) Soviet development strategies and Central Asia; iii) capitalism, globalization and Central Asian economic development; iv) social networks, local identity in Central Asia; v) Islam, pluralism and the state in Central Asia; vi) Relations between the Central Asian Republics vii) sustainability and resource opportunities and conflicts in Central Asia; viii) innovation and entrepreneurship in high technology areas in Central Asia (including energy and food security debates).

Key Publications

Asiatic roots and rootedness of the Eurasian project’, in ‘The Eurasian project and Europe’, Editors: David Lane and Vsevolod Samokhvalyov Palgrave 2014;

Environmental Security and Opportunities for Sustainable Development in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Realm,’ P. Kalra et al., in Social Development in Central Asia and its Neighbourhood: A case for the instrumentality of SCO, Cambridge Central Asia Briefs, September 2011;

Uzbek Relations with the Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council in modern and pre-modern times,’ A chapter in Gulf and Central Asia book commissioned by the GCC, Editor M. Teretov, November, 2009;

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: Foe or Friend?’, P Kalra and S.S. Saxena, centralasianow.org, A Web Journal, Invited article, 27 April 2007;

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Prospects of Development in the Eurasia Region,’ P Kalra and S.S. Saxena, Turkish Policy Quarterly (TPQ), 2007;

Book Review of S Dale’s ‘The Garden of Eight Paradises’, P Kalra and S.S. Saxena, Central Asia Survey, December 2007

 

At this time Dr Saxena is accepting research proposals for discussion from those looking to apply to the PhD course in 2017/18

ARB Long Photo